Help Your Employees Maximize Their Benefits

Employee benefits are now an integral part of the compensation packages offered by many businesses. Health insurance, retirement savings plans and tuition reimbursement are just some of the perks included to help companies attract and retain talented individuals.

Not all workers take full advantage of their benefits, however. And while you can’t force someone to participate in benefit plan offerings, there are several steps you can take to help your staff make the most of what your company has to offer.

1.  Publicize the benefit enrollment period far in advance. Give employees ample time to read and analyze the plan options and ask any pertinent questions. Many employees shy away from using available benefits because they make decisions based on their previous years’ choices when faced with a last-minute decision.  Encourage workers to talk about their options with their families and examine all available benefit options.

2.  Provide ample information about plan options. Another reason employees don’t best utilize their benefits is they are not aware of what is available to them. Plan administrators should provide easy to understand handouts that explain the various benefit packages, and encourage employees to pose any questions they may have prior to the enrollment period.

3.  Have HR personnel explain how elective benefits would impact a worker’s take-home pay. Employees should be given examples of how pre-tax medical and retirement savings plans can help them save money in the long run  People naturally shy away from the unknown, so it is important to educate workers on how the benefits you offer can serve them. Election of benefits is a big decision and support personnel should be interacting with workers. Some workers may automatically assume they cannot afford the vast majority of benefits; be sure that they have the tools to make an educated decision.

4.  Hold a benefits fair. Get your staff excited about the depth and breadth of benefits you offer by hosting an annual benefits fair. Set up different stations promoting some of the lesser-utilized components of your plan. Some employees may not be taking advantage of the college savings plan because they don’t understand how to enroll or what limitations, if any, the plan imposes on participants. Others may not realize the savings they could achieve by allocating pre-tax dollars for childcare. Be proactive about promoting benefit offerings and touting their importance to workers.

5.  Create a system through which employees can ask questions about their benefits throughout the year. If an employee has a question about their paycheck, it’s likely they know who they should contact. Benefits administration should be equally transparent and accessible.

By offering your employees a comprehensive benefits package, you are investing in both their future, and that of your company. Taking steps to help them better understand what you have to offer will go a long way toward cultivating a talented and loyal staff.

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